How to Take Care of Orchids Part 3: Light

In this article, the third part of our mini-series, "How to Take Care of Orchids", we will discuss the light requirements of orchids.

Like all members of the plant kingdom, orchids need sunlight to survive. You must provide your orchid with the right amount of light as too much or too little can be hazardous to it's health. Getting the optimum amount of light to your orchid is one of the determining factors as to whether it blooms or not.

The first thing to do is decide where your orchid will be located in your home. A windowsill is best as it will have the highest light intensity. Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis orchids prefer Northerly or Easterly facing windows. If the only options are Southerly or Westerly facing windows ensure that your orchids are adequately shaded to prevent burning. Conversely, Dendrobium orchids prefer higher light intensities and will thrive facing the South or West, however be sure to keep an eye on them in the Summer months to ensure they do not burn.

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The best way of checking that your orchid is getting enough light is by looking at the foliage. Leaves that are a rich dark green colour indicate a lack of light. Although a light-deficient orchid will still survive, it is unlikely to bloom so it should be re-located to an area that provides higher light intensity. Leaves that have a yellowish or reddish colouration are receiving to much light and should be moved to a more shaded area. Black and brown blemishes are a sign of sun-scorching or sunburn. Another indication of too much light is if the leaves feel warmer than the air around them.

This concludes the third part of our mini-series, "How to Take Care of Orchids". In the next part we will discuss water for your orchid, another essential ingredient in successful orchid growing.

How to Take Care of Orchids Part 1: Choosing Your Orchid
How to Take Care of Orchids Part 2: Potting Media
How to Take Care of Orchids Part 3: Light
How to Take Care of Orchids Part 4: Water
How to Take Care of Orchids Part 5: Fertilizer
How to Take Care of Orchids Part 6: Temperature & Humidity

If you would like a more in-depth knowledge about growing orchids for beginners and experts alike, we highly recommend Carl Harrison's ebook.

NOTE: This guide contains generalised information about how to care for orchids. Consequently, the advice given may not be suitable for your particular species and circumstances.